Tuesday 13 October 2020 – I noticed the Australian Space Weather report MUF and T index were reporting ‘enhanced’ conditions while the K index was close to zero, excellent! I checked the local weather forecast, which with the exception of Thursday, indicated rain for the week. Thursday it is!!
Plan: Thursday 15 October 2020, activate Mt Ainslie VK1/AC-040 after work from 0600 UTC to sunset 0820 UTC (1700h to 1920h local). Choice of HF Bands; 7 and 14 MHz, primarily 14 MHz. I contacted my good friend Herbert OE9HRV in Bregenz asking if he might have the opportunity to listen for me? Yes! Andrew was the reply.
Equipment: FT-857D, 2 x 8Ah LiFePO4 batteries, linked Inverted V dipole for 17/20/30/40m bands, 7 metre telescopic pole, 10m RG58AU coax. I plan to operate the 857 at 50 watts output.
I posted a note to the SOTA reflector of my intention to activate Mt Ainslie for long path propagation. The note generated a fair amount of interest from EU SOTA chasers and two UK SOTA activators, keen for a UK – VK1 Summit to Summit (S2S) QSO. I asked myself is this an opportunity to regenerate interest in SOTA DX long path during the solar minima? I think it is 🙂
My assessment of the space weather conditions (hunch) paid off. 20m long path propagation opened at 0645 UTC for approximately 1 hour. Band conditions were excellent and the 14 MHz background noise floor at Mt Ainslie was low. I immediately thought back to 2013 – 2015 where you could confidently work Europe chasers with an FT-817 at 5 watts output.
20m DX Window Long Path propagation
0645 UTC to 0745 UTC
Result – DX SOTA Chasers (SSB mode)
20m (14.320 and 14.315 MHz): 15
40m (7.130 and 7.150 MHz): 7
DX Countries worked
Russia, Japan, Italy, France, Austria, New Zealand, Germany, Hungary, Spain, Croatia and Columbia, yes Columbia!
VK2, VK4, VK5 and VK7. With the exception of Mark VK1EM/2 located in NSW, I didn’t receive a call from local VK1 chasers, quite odd!
QRN on 40m 😦
Nearby storms (1000 km away) were generating S9 QRN. Conditions on 40m made hearing weak signal reception quite difficult. Note to self – I spent too long on 40m, I should have dedicated that time to 20m chasers.
Extract of VK1AD SOTA Activator Log: Mt Ainslie 15 October 2020
Maps curtsey of SOTA Mapping
UK Activators: I did hear Mike 2E0YYY on 40m (7.181 MHz) operating from Gun G/SP-013, I called S2S a number of times but didn’t make the distance. Andy G6PJZ was activating Cringle Moor – Drake Howe G/TW-002 on 14.310 MHz, I listened a few times for Andy without luck. 😦
Short 23 second video from Herbert’s radio shack, 14.320 MHz.
|06:08||UA3EDQ||14MHz||SSB||Igor s58 r56|
|06:10||JH1MXV||14MHz||SSB||Hatori s57 r53|
|06:34||F5JKK||7MHz||SSB||Eric s57 r44|
|06:35||IK4GRO||7MHz||SSB||Lauro s57 r54|
|06:38||F5JKK||7MHz||SSB||Eric s58 r45|
|06:38||VK7DW||7MHz||SSB||Andrew s59 r49|
|06:40||VK4SMA||7MHz||SSB||Mark s59 r57|
|06:44||F4GMM||7MHz||SSB||Ludovic s58 r53|
|06:44||OE9HRV||7MHz||SSB||Herbert s58 r44|
|06:46||ZL2ATH||7MHz||SSB||Wynne s57 r57|
|06:55||F5JKK||14MHz||SSB||Eric s58 r55|
|06:57||IK2LEY||14MHz||SSB||Fabio s57 r44|
|06:59||F5MDY||14MHz||SSB||Nic s57 r52|
|07:01||OE9HRV||14MHz||SSB||Herbert s59 r57|
|07:03||DL6MST||14MHz||SSB||Klaus s58 r52|
|07:05||HA3MQ||14MHz||SSB||Ferenc s58 r57|
|07:20||EA2DT||14MHz||SSB||Manuel s57 r42|
|07:22||IK3XJL||14MHz||SSB||Mauro s57 r51|
|07:24||DK2ZT||14MHz||SSB||Walter s58 r55|
|07:29||G0RQL||14MHz||SSB||Don s55 r44|
|07:31||9A2CD||14MHz||SSB||Con s58 r58|
|07:45||VK4FTRL||7MHz||SSB||Rick s59 r59|
|07:47||VK2EMI||7MHz||SSB||Mark s59 r59|
|07:47||VK1EM||7MHz||SSB||Mark s59 r57|
|07:48||VK5PAS||7MHz||SSB||Paul s59 r59|
|07:49||ZL3GIG||7MHz||SSB||Ian s59 r59|
|08:00||ZL3AWB||14MHz||SSB||Andrew s59 r59|
While I don’t have a physics degree, I am convinced there is some form of HF RF wormhole between Mt Ainslie and Europe latitude 41 to 53 degrees 🙂
My SOTA DX history, check the results for Mt Ainslie: https://vk1nam.wordpress.com/sota-dx-from-vk1/